Tag Archives: kriega overlander

Tested: Kriega Overlander S – OS-32

See also: Soft Baggage Comparison

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Kriega’s new Overlander-S is their second iteration of a luggage system suited to bike travel. A few years ago they brought out a similar plate-on-rack idea (below right) but, with modularity using their existing 15-litre packs (or Rotopax), which were semi-permanently riveted to the HDPE plate which itself attached to the rack with fiddly skewer clamps. I never used them myself, but has a close look once and it wasn’t really for me. I prefer one big bag, like the Adventure Spec Magadans, and an easier way of getting the bags on and off a rack.

OVERLANDER

tik • Good volume
• Rugged construction
• Easy mounting and removal
• Exterior tabs for expandability
• Option to not use platform/plate

cros • Expensive, once you add it all up

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I just spent a month in southern Morocco and Western Sahara with prototypes of Kriega’s new OS-32 panniers, the core of their new Overlander-S system (below right) using a similar bag-on-plate-on-rack system.
My load was about 10-15kgs each side, depending on water, and I was set up for tentless camping with a few days food. A nifty Giant Loop tankbag, a trusty old Touratech tail pouch and Kriega R15 backpack with Hydrapak added up to the rest of my baggage.

With Kriega OS panniers, an HDPE plate  or ‘platform’ in Kriegaspeak (left) can be bolted to a rack. You may think it just adds weight and expense. Both true, but a plate is actually a smart way to fit any rack. HDPE (think: kitchen chopping board) is great stuff, too: light, rigid and dead easy to drill or even just poke with a red-hot skewer.
The Kriega plate and its adapter clamps have been designed to fit just about any round-tube, 18mm/¾” rack and offer a broad, grippy surface for the hypalon-backed OS bag to cinch up against. Making your own fitting to fatted or  square tubed racks would be easy enough. The Kriega OS bags use a cunning anchor on and strap-up system to make a very secure fitting while enabling easy fitting or removal – a key element when on the long road. Strapping the hypalon-backed bag to the grippy plate surface spreads loads over a broad area too, meaning no failure-prone stress points.
moskrackMosko Moto also use a plate for their Backcountry bags; a GRP wedge and ‘frame’ (right). The wedge attaches upwards to your bike rack, and the full-width frame permanently to the back of the bag which slides down onto the wedge and clips in with a latch. Originals were also made in HDPE, but either wore too quickly or were too soft. GRP (fibreglass) gets round this, but can be brittle stuff. I’ve not tried Backcountry bags, but intuitively I feel old-school soft-strapping to a plate spreads and secures loads better than two bits of GRP slotting, clipping and grinding together, even if it does just take seconds to fit and remove. It’s probably fine for road riding, less so for off road.

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For a big trip with heavy/variable loads, a travel bike is better off with a rack, unless you take very little or can be certain your gear will stay put, be easy to get to and remove, and of course, won’t catch fire off the pipe (right; Niger ’86). It’s a load-carrying interface between your baggage and your bike to enable secure fitting on a variety of bikes, like saddles on a horse, a roofrack on your car, a packframe in a rucksack, or even the shoes on your feet.
You can use Kriega’s OS-32s as throwovers, in which case you could dispense with the plate, but you will need some sort of rack to stop them swinging about. You could duplicate the HDPE plate’s strap holes on a rack frame to effectively mount in the same way. It won’t spread the load and secure the bag as well, but it will save 2.4kg of plate and a hundred quid.

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I used a Tusk rack from Rocky Mountain (4kg, left). Great price, well made in ¾” and solid mounting. It stood up to the beating well and was only spoiled by the clumsy extra bracketry for mounting hard cases. I removed what I could from the rack, but some welded-on bits (right) got in the way of mounting the Kriega rack plate as low and far forward as practical. I suppose I could have ground them off.

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The plates (1.2kg each) have four slots for the upper and lower bag straps. To mount a bag (2.6kg), you rest it on your knee and feed  the lower straps through – below.

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Then you feed the top straps through the slots and pull the ‘anchor buckle’ through – works a bit like a shirt button and similar to Wolfman’s idea which cinched smaller bags directly onto racks.

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Viewed from behind – the anchor buckles (as I call them) pull through and take the weight.

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With those buckles pulled through, the bag now hangs on the plate not unlike a throwover. You could probably ride on roads like that. For a bombproof mounting, you now crouch down and connect the dangling lower straps to the outer strap with a flat metal hook. This is about as arduous and fiddly as the whole bag-mounting process gets. Then, on top you do the same: hook the outer strap to the chunky tab off the anchor buckle, then cinch it all up and lock it down with the cam buckle. Sorted!
krigstrappMounting takes about 40 secs each side once you’re practised – demounting a bit less.

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One of the best things about the Magadans are the big exterior pockets – a lot of soft luggageers dodge this necessity. Kriega supplied me with two OS6, 6-litre strap-on pockets (550g) which are part of the OS system and which I hooked on the front of the bags. They’re ideal for daily or heavy items to keep the CoG central. The OS6s cinch down on themselves to stop stuff shaking about. You could put two more on the back and another on top. There are over a dozen hook-on tabs on the main bags and the system includes an optional pair of shoulder straps which make it easier to do the bike-to-hotel-room-walk in one go.

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All bags came with the usual Kriega white liners to enhance rummaging visibility and which are more durable than previous liners. I didn’t use them, and bagged stuff individually. Even then, what rain I got – a few hours a couple of times – didn’t penetrate the bags. They’re covered in hypalon panels (think: whitewater raft fabric; lasts for decades) which slow the wetting out of the bag’s Cordura body and of course will scoff at any abrasion, be it the constant rubbing against the plate, or sliding down the road hoping not to loosen your load. Daytime access requires uncam-locking and loosening the top straps and pushing to the sides, then unclipping the roll top folds from the sides and unrolling – about 15 secs.

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On the top panel you’ll see a chunky metal fitting to feed a cable lock, like the Steel Core recommended by Mosko Moto. I initially just used them to secure the loose strap ends (left). Kriega tell me if I fold the ends over they’ll have the rigidity to slip into the outer sleeves, even when the bags are packed full. I never tried that and in the end just let the straps flap.

The bags have interior stiffening panels to help give shape, but fold down flat for shipping or shoving under the bed between adventures. The volume is 32 litres according to the brochure, but as I discovered here, a flexible, rectilinear box will actually increase in volume when filled with fluids as it seeks to attain spherical equilibrium. Who wouldn’t want some of that. For example, my notional ’24-litre’ Magadans (right) actually took 40 litres of water, and that increase will be the same with any similar flexible rectilinear pannier.

So, masses of volume meant I didn’t need an annoying tailpack, and low-mounting probably didn’t do any harm to stability either. Yes, they’re wide because the rack is wide. On the chain side I could’ve used the inner space better (just a rolled up 10-L fuel bag, yellow thing on the left). There’s four litres of volume to be had there, easily. A Rotopax won’t fit.

On road and trail the OS-32s never missed a beat or felt annoying to use. In fact the pulling up of the anchor buckles and then cinching up were quite satisfying actions – I suspect ‘actuation gratification’ (the satisfying click of a clip, for example; there’s probably better jargon for it) may be something that better designers think more about than others.
With my throwover-on-rack Mags (left) I removed the liner to take indoors as the bags needed careful lashing to the rack to stay put. With the Overlander-S it was no bother to:
• lift the cam locks
• loosen then unhook the lower straps
• unhook the top straps
• lift the bag on its handle, release the anchor buckles and carry it away

Your OS32s are a travel solution to long overland journeys. For dirtbike weekends or fast and light BDR-ing, I imagine a GL Great Basin, Mosko Moto Reckless, or alternative Kriega packs will suit riders prioritising agility. Me, I’m more of a traveller and prefer big, side-mounted saddle bags with minimal junk loaded on top. Slimmer would be nice, but that’s just conventional rack design and high dirt-bike pipes for you.


The Mags are still great bags and bound to be cheaper. The OS-32 kit as I used it with plates and two pockets would come to £710. That’s a lot of money, but of all the accessories you lash to a genuine travel bike, surely the baggage system is the most critical and will be the most used.  I hope to carry over these OS-32s to my next adv bike. Good job Kriega, a well thought out bit of kit.

For more images from my ride in Morocco, see this.

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Kriega Overlander system – Quick Look

See also:
Soft Baggage Comparison
Overlander S which came next

AMH contributor Nick T dropped by while on tour through the Western Isles on his ’05 Dakar 650 equipped with his new Kriega Overlander baggage system. I saw prototypes at a bike show earlier in the year and had another chance to take a closer look at Nick’s set up and hear his views after a few day’s use.

Kriega’s solution to the soft baggage option is a modular system using up to four of their Overlander 15 roll-top bags (15 litres; left and below) mounted on a ~8mm-thick plastic plate – or as they call it, ‘Adv Platform’, right. This platform in turn screws onto your regular 18mm tube hanging rack (more about racks here) using four clamps with a quick-release cam mechanism like the q/r skewers found on pushbike wheels: you screw up the slack with a knurled knob and then lever over the cam-pivot to clamp the plate securely to the rack. That can be done to the two horizontal bars as Nick did – so allowing some forward and back repositioning of the load – or as the Kriega image of their plate above right suggests, attach one clamp to a vertical element of the rack to eliminate forward and back sliding – something I’d say is unlikely to happen if clamped on correctly, except in a crash.

The ability to slide forward and back even a few inches (Nick-mode) is useful as it means you can position the bags as far forward as possible when not riding two-up. That’s good for CoG and so, handling. One of the Jesse Luggage systems has this feature with their boxes. With a heavy load it can make a big difference to how a bike responds, especially on rough tracks.

You don’t have to use two pairs of Kriega’s 15-litres bags. You could mount an alloy box or any other soft pannier to the plate, providing you have the rack of course. In my opinion, a rack is the way to go for hardcore overlanding with soft baggage, as well as with hard boxes or firm cases.

The Ov-15 bags look like they simply strap to the plate, rather like Wolfman bags do to their racks (right).

But Nick explained, five screw-and-lock rivets also fix the bags to the plate and help support the weight. The straps do pass through slots in the plates edges but mainly to compress the bag’s load volume. If I understood him right, Nick also mentioned that the tensioning cam buckles pulling into the gap between the bags was awkward, but perhaps the straps can be easily reversed to pull outwards. The rivets screw through holes in the back of outer bag (right) and require an allen key or similar to tighten into place or release. Once fixed on like this, the bags are not easily removed from the plate should you decide to reconfigure your set up. To remove the baggage you remove the entire plate (see below).

The zipless, roll-top bags themselves use Kriega’s usual 1000D ‘Rhinotek’ Cordura fabric, similar (in appearance at least) to my Magadans. Inside white liners are velcro’d to the top edge of the outer bag. It struck us both that white was a good idea for better visibility when digging around looking for something. And as I mentioned in the Magadan review, removable inner bags are the way to go. The Kriega inner bags are made of something like PU-coated nylon with taped seams, but reassuringly thicker than your average stuff sack and it’s all guaranteed for ten years according to the website. Like I say in the Magadan review, I think PVC- or PU-type fabric with heat- or RF-welded seams (like Ortlieb baggage) would be bomb-proof, high-wear solution for a liner, but it’s less flexible when cold compared to nylon which as a result rolls up tighter and so makes a better seal against water ingress. Nick said he rode through a downpour on the way up which got through his Rukka membrane jacket, but his three Kriega bags survived bone dry.

The Kriega platform can be easily adapted to take accessories, most commonly a pair of tough Rotopax rotomolded fuel or water cans at 3.8 litres (1 US gal) each. They lock on with a rotating clamp mount (Kriega accessory) which presses the cans against the rack. All up that’s a weight of up to 11kg on the one-kilo spindle mount, so you’d hope it’s up to a long session of corrugations (which starts me of again on my platform rack preference: separating the location/mounting from load bearing). I must say I prefer bags for water and fuel: they’re lighter and take up less space when not in use, but a rigid fluid container is so much easier to handle than a floppy bag, especially with water which gets more frequent use. (I use a rigid day bottle and keep the mass of water – when needed – in a bag).

Nick demo’d the removal of one side from the rack and I have to say that it still looks a fiddly procedure, just as it did when I saw it done at a bike show a while back. We’re talking a minute or two, but it’s quite tight in there between the back of the plate and the rack (possibly near a hot pipe, too). You need to loosen the four knurled base wheels and then swivel all the cam levers to get enough slack to lift the plate clear of the rack tubes, but not so much slack so the cam spindles unscrew completely and fall out. You’d soon learn just how many turns are needed. I was just pushbike touring for a few days, using my Ortlieb Classic QL1 bags and as I’ve said elsewhere, it feels great to effortlessly lift the bag off or clip it on, especially when you’re shagged out or distracted.

Whether you’re camping or lodging with the Overlanders, you’d probably need to remove them daily (unless you lift out the inner bags) which could get a pain. Removal could be speeded up with only a little loss in solid mounting by replacing the lower lever clamps with fixed, weight-bearing slot-in U-mounts as found on many metal boxes. The use of four fiddly q/r clamps does seem OTT to me** and they’re not actually theft proof either (though that could easily be done by drilling the cam levers to take a thin cable lock). And if you’re removing the plates frequently then a handle across the top cut out (strap or part of the plate) was something they may have missed.

**Oct 2012: I’m told the lower mounts are to be redesigned, possibly along the lines I mention.

I believe a simple and foolproof but solid mounting system for anything regularly removed from a moving object – moto baggage; crash helmet; running shoes – is important because with anything repetitive you can get both blasé or distracted midway if it takes a while. All the more when it’s not a simple ‘clip on’ procedure when half awake in the morning surrounded by two-dozen spear-wielding tribesmen or a pilfer-prone crowd. While at the other end of the day, when worn out after a tough ride, irrational levels of frustration can be focussed on uncooperative inanimate objects like your baggage, when all you want to do is get inside, fed and rested. Meanwhile, a slick system like Ortlieb’s QL (admittedly not perfect or robust enough for overland moto use) can be a pleasure to use. If it’s also field repairable and secure against opportunist theft, so much the better.

As for modularity, for overland use, I feel that’s not so useful. You set off for months with what you have: a pair of big bags like Magadans, Gascoynes, or metal boxes. That suits me more than three or four small bags to deal with. The necessary and useful  compartmentalisation of your stuff is of course addressed inside the bags, along with something mounted on the back, on the tank and elsewhere round the bike. It’s possible Kriega may bring out a bigger, 30-litre+ side bag (or, as said, you could mount your own), but having looked again, I still feel the removal system (perhaps intended as a one-size-fits-all solution) could be refined [and is being so – see **].

The cost of a plate with clamps is £139 while weighing 1.2kg. Each Ov15 bag is £59 (600g) with the five rivets. The Rotopax mount kit (1kg) is £59. Their fuel can is £55 and water can £32 (both are listed at 2.3kg). So at a guess Nick’s set up would have cost £600 or $976 in the US if you add up the online prices and it would weigh in at 7.7kg (17lbs) empty, according the Kriega/Rotopax online figures. I didn’t get a chance to measure the bags, but the 15-litre volume looks about right. For a four-bag set up I’ve seen an advert in ABR quoting £489.

Tough build quality with some clever features, but in places over-designed, that’s been my opinion of some of Kriega’s moto baggage products over the years. To be fair the company produces load-carrying solutions for the much larger mainstream motorcycling market where I believe it goes down very well, rather than specialising in overlanding like say, Touratech. Stuff like their tool kit or the R3 Waist Pack are great, but for my sort of riding I’d take a full-size pair of roll-tops like the Magadans – easily [de-]mounted and ideally locked onto a platform rack.

The fact is though, there are nearly as many ways of equipping your bike and carrying your gear as there are places to take it. The Kriega Overlander system offers very secure mounting for gear, fuel and water making it well suited to recreational rough riding in wilderness areas such as deserts outside the AMZ on your small-tanked enduro bike (as the imagery on their website suggests). In this scenario you mount your bags once off the pickup/leaving home and may not need to remove them against theft or downpours each night – something which you do when riding most of the time from town to town in the AMZ.

Adventure Spec Magadan Bags review

Soft Baggage Comparison • 2020

Update – autumn 2015
Had a pair ready for my next Morocco trip but sadly they didn’t fit the rack/pipe combination. So back under the bed, ready for next time.

Update – summer 2014
I bought a pair of Mag 2s and used them with a 650 XCountry in Morocco.

Update – May 2013
I finally got a chance to actually use my Magadans for a few weeks’ ride around the Southwest USA. Admittedly it was only America and I was mostly moteling, but I did enough off-roading to put them to the test. Full story on that ride here.

I am pleased to say – but not surprised to learn – that the Mags lived up to expectations on both trips. It’s only a bag, but the no-nonsense design is simply functional and effective – like the Steel Ponys below but much better construction and materials; there’s nothing there you don’t need – other manufactures take note.

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Mine were actually semi-permanently mounted on prototype Al Jesse platform racks – with each siderack removable, so I either pulled out the liner to take inside – or removed each side rack where that felt a better idea – or for day rides. More news of the Jesse MonoArm racks in a few weeks.

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It never poured with rain but it did when I used them last year so I have no reservations about that aspect. The corner tabs I added on not so elegantly (see below) may become a feature on future versions. For my sort of riding prefs they’re the best thing out there.

ABR magazine compared half a dozen soft bags. Highest score? Magadans.

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Adventure Spec Magadans

Bags supplied in exchange for an Adventure Spec advert in my AMH6.

The Mags are based on the proportions on the 36-litre Steel Pony Gascyones Walter C used or my design if you include the pockets and which I feel is near perfect: bigger than the Andyz, narrower than the Monsoons, zip-free closures unlike the Zega Flexes, and with a chunky lift-out liner supplied unlike any of them.

Two layers of regular-looking (PU-coated?) Cordura make up all the panels of the outer bags, joined with a thick edging. Can tell if one is or incorporates the mysterious and slash-proof Twaron, but one has a ‘ripstop’ like appearance in the  weave although it’s possible I may have felt the thin later of Twaron between them. Inside, as with many soft bags, a flexible panel behind a zip slips down the back panel and under the base to give a bit of shape while still retaining two panels facing the bike or the rack. Magadans are designed to be used against racks, as many other soft bag makers are beginning to realise. I made the dimensions about 24 litres rolled up with two folds (left image above) – the regular way of using them. In what I call expanded mode, with just one, less weatherproof fold on the velcro’d top edge of the outers, you can get 32 litres in each side plus 3 litres in the pockets. They weigh 4.7kg (10.3 lbs). The Gascoynes are about the same size but are 23cm wide – an extra two inches giving another six litres in the main bag. However, I’m happy to lose that extra width. The outer rolls up with a velcro closure and two chunky clippy clips incorporating enough slack to still work in expanded mode, or to lash things down on top with the bag fully rolled up in regular mode against the weather.

The two outside pockets are a great idea to keep fluids handy but also out of the main bag. It’s what’s always missing on vinyl Orliebs and something I’ve bodged on myself on other bags using army ammo pouches. Both with velcro flaps, one will take a 1.5 litre water bottle (green bottle) sticking out, or 1 litre flap closed; the back takes 2 litres sticking out with room to spare, or 2 litres closed.

The weight is taken on throw over straps, but as mentioned, with a rack. One bag gets doubled velcro ‘hook’ straps (4), the other gets the double sided ‘loop’ strap. A secure system sandwiching the loop strap from both sides to cope with the large hanging volume and onto which velcro can be re-sewn should it wear out, or a buckle easily fitted. With velcro the less you use it the longer it will last but with a buckle (two types shown right) macro adjustments up or down are much easier to make, especially when the bags are loaded. That’s what I plan to do. The distance on full velcro overlap is 50cm and I’d say you could run them out to 75cm (half overlap) if you’re bike is wide.

I was keen to see how the back of the Mags looked so as to work out how they could mount securely to my planned rack. The Magadans are designed to be merely held against a regular flat ‘hanging’ rack rectangle which most alloy box makers produce for all sorts of bikes. It does this with a horizontal strap which passes through slots behind the side pockets just above the level of the reflective stripe. To me this is not so effective, but is perhaps the best ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for the moment. It’ll stop the bag flapping outwards but, depending on the width of rack verticals, will still allow some forward and (less common) back sliding which could get annoying on the legs, unless you add a retaining strap across the back as the Monsoons had.

The good thing with the fabric outer being separated from the inner (like the Monsoons) is that you can sew or rivet on whatever suits your needs and that’s what I did to mine (right) so there’s a direct attachment point. As it is I plan to use a platform rack so the attachment won’t be so critical and may even work without the throw over straps. If I was to suggest a solution it would be something like two horizontal rows of loops sewn across the back panel, a bit like was on the top back edge of the Monsoons (right – for what reason I was not sure). With two rows of such loops you could even eliminate the throw over element, or reduce its stress loads. But it’s unlikely that Magadans will be modified in this way. A mate asked Adv-Spec and was told:

We have always found that tags sewn onto panniers result in [them being] ripped off panniers as soon as there is any real load applied or a constant tugging or pullingThe Magadan panniers are designed to have a strap tied around the entire pannier and then around the frame. There are slots in the front and rear bottle holders which allow the strap to pass through to help hold everything in place.

I have to say that from my experience with similar panniers that’s not such a convincing explanation. And even if it was, a tough fabric mount could feature a ‘sacrificial’ ring or loop which could be replaced should the pannier be wrenched away in a heavy fall. But if that’s the Magadans’ biggest flaw then it’s not so bad.

I was pleased to see the inner bags are not some cheap PU-coated drawstring stuff sacks, but full size, roll-top PVC ‘dry bags’ shaped to fit the outers. Sewn seams are taped (right). I suppose I’d have preferred heat welded, like an Ortlieb or Seal Lines. The great thing with separate bags is you can lift them out clean to carry into a tent or hotel room, leaving the mucky outers on the bike if you wish. These are chunky PVC bags that will resist the rubbing against the outers as well as impacts better than most things, and anyway, you can fit a selection of your own in there to compartmentalise better.

As well as the horizontal back strap to locate the bags, the Magadans feature a similar arrangement of loops to take a vertical strap or indeed an adjustable cable lock to wrap around a frame – where used – so securing the bags against opening or removal. Combined with the slash-proof fabric, this ought to make the Mags the most secure soft bags around. It’s hard to know how effective this slash-proof Twaron is without doing the obvious. There are a couple of vids on  youtube citing the wonders of Twaron for offshore and ballistic uses, but if nothing else, if you use a rack you’ll be able to cable the bag on (although you could sort of do that with any soft bag).

All up I’d say the Mags look the business: a great size, good features and modifiable for rack fitment. The quality of manufacture (somewhere in the EU) looks good too. Nice work Walter C and Adv Spec; you’ve save me doing a less good job myself. There’s more on using the Magadans here and here.

With Monsoons costing £220, old Kriega Overlanders from £500 all up, Steel Pony Gascoynes AUD350 and Andyz going for £245 in the UK, at £350 I’d say the Magadans are fairly priced when you think what a key component your luggage is on a genuine overland trip.